After years of overseeing a crisis care assessment center for human trafficking victims, Kristen Weibe has seen it all.
The anti-trafficking director for World Hope International, Kristen oversees crisis care (including an emergency room) within two assessment center located in Cambodia, a refuge for children and teens victimized by rape and the commercial sex trade.
Headquartered in Alexandria, VA, World Hope International is a world relief partner with The Wesleyan Church. Weibe lived in a Southeast Asia country for three years and witnessed sex trafficking occurring locally. This spurred her to attend law school so she could help alleviate the suffering of the trafficking victims.
Weibe and her staff of approximately fifty people work in correlation with local law enforcement to aid the victims.
“Our staff people are emotionally invested. They are loving people, and believe in restoration,” says Weibe, who has been with World Hope for eight years. Crises care for trafficking victims includes physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual restoration. Victims are typically girls ranging in age from 5-17. They arrive at the assessment centers from brothels and situations where there is ongoing, “imminent risk” and are treated for psychological and social trauma.
Weibe refers to trafficking as a “monster of an issue,” which occurs worldwide–even in the United States. It includes sex and labor trafficking but isn’t limited to only women or children. She explains that because trafficking is an illicit crime, it is hard to track accurate statistics. Similar to the American prohibition in the 1920’s, it is difficult to know how many [traffickers] are committing crimes.
“We want to do our part with excellence,” said Weibe. She has led her team to improve aftercare for the victims as well as collaborate with other anti-trafficking organizations. When asked how to help and support, Weibe suggested a number of options:
- Pray and donate funds to non-profits fighting human trafficking.
- Get educated on products and services purchased. (Are they made by human trafficking victims?)
- Read books about human trafficking.
- Learn the signs to recognize human trafficking happening in your area.
Weibe stresses that people working together can help eradicate human trafficking.
“Partnerships are imperative,” she says, as is continued improvement in professional therapeutic care for victims.